Science Fiction/Fantasy Speakers

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Conference  June 9, 2018

Your mind is bursting with imagery and characters struggling to leap into life on the printed page.  The obstacles lie in knowing the best way to instill the same passion you feel for your creation into your readers.  To that end we have contacted authors who have been successful with publishing Sci-Fi/Fantasy books and asked them to impart their secrets.   Here is some information on the topics and speakers.

Creating Fantasy Races Indigenous to Unique Settings

How I Learned to Reject Dragons, Fairies, Vampires, Zombies, and Werewolves for Fun But Little Profit!

Presented by RJ Mirabal

Many fantasies feature dragons, fairies, elves and that lot. Contemporary urban fantasies lock into vampires. It’s hard to believe anything new can be said about that tribe. Enter zombies and werewolves then, but same thing: too many stories exhaust the possibilities. Familiar character types are OK, but it’s time writers take readers on unique journeys with new “races” as their guides.

How does one go about creating races that fit into their unique setting? Join RJ as he takes you on that quest. Careful, routes off the grid might feature cheap hotels and plain food. But what a ride!

RJ Mirabal has lived in the Middle Rio Grande Valley for most of his life. Recognized with awards for his teaching, he is now retired, pursues writing and music while volunteering with various organizations. All three books of his New Mexico-based Rio Grande Parallax series were Finalists in the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards in the Fantasy/Science Fiction category.

How to Create Your Book from a Role Playing Game

Presented by Kirt Hickman

Creating a book, or book series, from a role-playing campaign offers unique opportunities and challenges to the fiction writer. It’s a collaborative process. The author, the players, and the creator of the gaming system each contribute in some way to the final creative work, and each has intellectual property rights that must be respected. In this talk, Kirt Hickman will share his advice and experiences in this fun, dynamic, and often unpredictable process, which will yield a story that could not have been created in any other way.

Kirt Hickman, author of the award-winning science-fiction thrillers Worlds Asunder and Venus Rain, has been an avid gamer for decades and developed his fantasy series, The Age of Prophecy, from a role-playing campaign. Kirt was a technical writer for fourteen years before branching into fiction. His methodical approach to self-editing has helped many make sense of the mass of advice available to the novice writer. He has contributed a monthly column titled “Revising Fiction” to the SouthWest Sage. He has also written Mercury Sun, two children’s books, and the award-winning writers’ guide, Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness.

Worldbuilding: Political Systems in Conflict

by Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include novels, non-fiction, poetry, and short fiction. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award.

Her award-winning fantasy romance trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms hit the shelves starting in May 2014. Book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose received a Top Pick Gold and was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014. The third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books followed in this world, beginning the spin-off series The Uncharted Realms. Book one in that series, The Pages of the Mind, has also been nominated for the RT Reviewer’s Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2016 and won RWA’s 2017 RITA® Award. The second book, The Edge of the Blade, released December 27, 2016, and is a PRISM finalist, along with The Pages of the Mind. The next in the series, The Shift of the Tide, will be out in August, 2017. A high fantasy trilogy taking place in The Twelve Kingdoms world is forthcoming from Rebel Base books in 2018. In 2019, St. Martins Press will release the first book, The Orchid Throne, in a new fantasy romance series, The Forgotten Empires.

She also introduced a new fantasy romance series, Sorcerous Moons, which includes Lonen’s War, Oria’s Gambit, The Tides of Bàra, and The Forests of Dru. She’s begun releasing a new contemporary erotic romance series, Missed Connections, which started with Last Dance and continues in With a Prince.

Her other works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion; an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera; and the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, which includes Going Under, Under His Touch and Under Contract.

Jeffe can be found online at her website:, every Sunday at the popular SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency.



Writing Science Fiction Fast Enough to Stay Ahead of Reality

by Eric Michael Craig

According to Moore’s Law, technology doubles every two years. Does that mean we have to write twice as fast now as we used to, just to stay ahead of the curve? Fortunately that reality doesn’t make writing SF a hopeless proposition. There are still entire disciplines of science and technology in the world that are just now starting to emerge into the future. Let’s talk about some tasty ideas for SF technologies that still leave you time to write, without leaving your keyboard a smoking pile of slag.

Eric Michael Craig is a Hard Science Fiction writer living in the Manzano Mountains of New Mexico. He is the former Director of Research for a private consulting laboratory in Phoenix, where he experimented with inertial propulsion and power generation technologies.

When not writing, Eric is active in Intentional Community Design, plays guitar and bass, occasionally dabbles in art of various forms, and designs websites. He also owns way too many dogs.

Eric is a founding member of the SciFi Roundtable. The SFRT is an active online group dedicated to supporting indie and traditional authors by networking them with other writers and professional resources.

Contact Eric at:



5 Secrets for Leaving Your Audience SPELLbound!


Shea Berkley has a fondness for characters, real life ones and those she makes up in her head while she’s tending to a multitude of mundane tasks she’s forced to do in order to survive. Writing gives her purpose (okay it keeps her out of trouble…mostly), and she can’t imagine herself doing anything else. She has several paranormal book series including The Keepers of Life, Dark Secrets and her YA series Once Upon a Time.  She enjoys painting, kickboxing, riding horses, reading and watching movies and her favorite TV shows.




For information on the Craft of Writing Track speakers/topics click here!



Upcoming Events

  1. Loretta Hall: Researching Your Writing Project

    January 12 @ 2:00 pm - January 19 @ 4:00 pm


Support SWW

Make A Donation


Search Now:  
amazon search

SouthWest Writers receives a commission on all books ordered via Amazon.

Follow Our Blog

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email.